How to Do Local SEO for Multiple Business Locations
Doing SEO for business is complex enough. But imagine doing SEO for several business locations. If you have several locations across a geographical area, or your business is in the process of expanding, here’s why you should do local SEO for all of your business locations and how to do it without risking penalties from Google.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO helps businesses attract customers in specific and more focused geographical areas (as opposed to national or global reach) like certain towns and cities. This is an excellent strategy for businesses aiming for an audience in a given area, drive foot traffic to their physical location, or build a customer base within a service area.
Service-area businesses like HVAC contractors, locksmiths, and other tradespersons are eligible to practice local SEO, and will benefit more from it.
This same is true for bricks-and-mortars and service-area businesses, for whom local customers are the best customers, who are easier to reach and are more likely to become loyal as long as they get good service.
In fact, 92% of local customers (brightlocal.com) say they are only willing to travel 20 minutes or less for day-to-day essentials, giving local businesses an advantage.
SMEs also have much to gain from local SEO. With major retailers and online shops dominating SEO, local business owners might feel unmotivated to compete against bigger and better known names for positions in the search results.
Topping the SERPs may have once been a pipe dream for SMES with big-budget companies dominating search. But Google has offered SMEs a way to target a local and lucrative audience via their 2014 Pigeon update, which gave preference to businesses in close proximity to search engine users.
Google knows the importance of local businesses , which is why the search engine uses specific local ranking factors to determine whether a business is geographically relevant to internet users performing a Near Me search.
Local SEO now gives SMEs the opportunity to get discovered by local customers who are happy and willing to support small and independently-owned businesses in their communities.
But any establishment that caters to local customers can benefit from local SEO. Whether you’re a local chain with several locations across the city or a brand with hundreds of stores across territories, you’ll want each of your locations to receive online visibility.
Why You Need Local SEO for Multiple Locations
- 46% of search engine queries have local intent (seroundtable.com)
- 28% of searches with local intent result in a purchase (safaridigital.com.au)
- 88% of consumers who do a local search on mobile will either visit or call the store within a day (blog.hubspot.com)
- 60% use mobile devices to find local products and services (digitalagencynetwork.com)
Tips for Doing Local SEO for Multiple Business Locations
Use a single domain for all business locations. When it comes to site structure, Google recommends having a single domain with separate URLs for each location. For example, if your head office is in Melbourne but you have regional offices in Geelong and Bendigo, you should ideally have dedicated pages for each location with the corresponding geographic keywords in the URL.
Build and optimise individual pages for each business location. These pages should not be identical and should ideally contain unique and relevant content, including:
- Location name, address and phone number (NAP)
- Location-specific content (i.e. testimonials, staff information)
- Directions, maps and photos with mentions of local landmarks that Google identifies as entities
Create a Google My Business (GMB) account. GMB lets you create listings for individual locations. Just make sure to follow Google’s guidelines when optimising each location page, which includes:
- Verifying each business location
- Listing accurate business hours
- Adding unique, relevant and high quality photos
- Managing and responding to online reviews
- You must also observe certain rules that apply to multi-location listings:
- Name consistency – The names for each location must have consistent wording, spelling and capitalisation
- Category consistency – All listed locations must include at least one category representing your business as a whole (e.g., all Woolworths locations must have a “Groceries” category )
These rules don’t apply if each of your business locations serves very different and specific purposes, however. Consult with a digital agency to find out if the rules apply to your listings.
Update your site. Your business site is the face of the company, helping customers and search engines get accurate information on your products, services and locations. That’s why it’s important for all your data to align with the information on your site. This helps ensure that the NAP on your site is consistent.
Collect and analyse data. Use data from Google My Business Insights for information on the following:
- Your customers’ online behaviours and actions (i.e. site visits, phone calls, direction requests)
- How they search for your business online
- Where they view your business (i.e. listing on maps, listing on search)
Manage citations. In addition to on-page optimisation, doing SEO for multiple locations requires you to manage any mentions of your business on the web.
Be consistent. Google pays attention to how your NAP appears across the web to determine your ranking in local search. For better rankings, you must make sure your NAP is consistent for every business location. Further you must make sure that your business name is not annotated based on location (e.g. Woolworths at Geelong).
Refrain from using virtual office locations. One of the lesser known guidelines for GMB listings prohibits businesses from using virtual office locations as part of their local SEO strategy. Google has set clear GMB guidelines concerning the legalities of virtual office addresses. Businesses can use an off-site location only if it is fully-staffed during the stated business hours. Failure to comply can have a negative impact on your site, such as complete removal of your GMB listing.
Optimise for mobile. Over a third of mobile searches have local intent which is why it’s important to optimise your location pages for mobile. Google also ranks mobile and desktop search results differently. If your site isn’t accessible to smartphone users, you’re most likely losing out on business as customers are on their phones by looking for new local businesses or establishments to support.
Work with an SEO company for the best results. Contevo is an Australian digital agency with more than 15 years’ experience in SEO. We love helping SMEs build their online presence and drive revenue as a result. Call us today for more information on doing local SEO for your business.